The Suffolk County Department of Health Services joins jurisdictions around the world in highlighting International Overdose Awareness Day. Initiated in Melbourne, Australia in 2001, International Overdose Awareness Day is now a global campaign to raise awareness of overdose, reduce the stigma of substance related deaths, and acknowledge the grief and loss of family and friends. Sadly, Suffolk County has lost nearly 3,000 lives to substance overdose over the last decade.
“Today, we mourn all those in Suffolk County who have lost their lives to drug overdose and to offer our condolences to their friends and families,” said Dr. Pigott. “To those individuals who are still struggling, we want them to know that recovery is real. We encourage them as well as their friends and families to access lifesaving naloxone. We also urge them to consider using the treatment and recovery resources available in Suffolk County. Together we can fight stigma and flip the script from negative to positive.”
Through participation in the HEALing Communities Study of Brookhaven, the SCDHS Division of Community Mental Hygiene in collaboration with the Suffolk County Parks Department are calling attention to lifesaving resources available in Suffolk County.
In recognition of Overdose Awareness Day, visitors who drive through the toll booths at Smith Point County Park over the next few weeks will receive palm cards informing them where and how to access naloxone, the life-saving opioid overdose reversal medication, at little or no cost to them. Featured on the card are emergency phone numbers for individuals who may experience a behavioral health crisis, as well as information about the New York State Good Samaritan Law, which allows drug users to report a suspected overdose without fear of legal consequences.
“We are urging people in our community, especially those who use or know individuals who use substances, to recognize the signs and symptoms of an overdose, and to learn where to get naloxone and how to use it,” said Cari Faith Besserman, Director of Suffolk County health department’s division of community mental hygiene.
For more information and resources about naloxone, visit https://suffolkstopaddiction.org/SUD/Naloxone.
NIH HEAL Initiative and Helping to End Addiction Long-term are service marks of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services